Geoff Ogilvy claims Barracuda Championship
RENO — The drought is over.
Geoff Ogilvy scored 14 points on Sunday to win the Barracuda Championship at Montreux Golf & Country Club, his first title since the 2010 season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
The Australian-born Ogilvy, who became the first foreign player to win the event, finished with 49 points in the Modified Stableford system. He finished five ahead of Justin Hicks, who recorded 27 birdies in four rounds and 29 weekend points.
John Huh and Jonathan Byrd tied for third at 37 points, while Rod Pampling was fifth at 36. Martin Laird and Jason Allred tied for sixth at 35, while part-time Truckee, Calif., resident Ricky Barnes, second-round leader Nick Watney, Kyle Stanley and Tim Wilkinson tied for eighth at 34. Eric Axley and Hudson Swafford tied for 10th with 33 points.
Ogilvy won $540,000 and earned a full two-year exemption on the PGA Tour. He qualified for next week’s PGA Championship and the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii to kick off 2015. The win also put earned him 300 FedEx Cup points, and put him well inside the top 125, clinching a playoff berth.
“Obviously it feels like it’s been a long time coming,” Ogilvy said. “Feels like a long time ago — Maui in 2010. It’s been a bit rough the past few years. I was playing really well most of year this year. Just didn’t make any putts, which was kind of the story for the last two or three years.
“So I kind of felt things were turning around most of this year. Without really getting any sort of runs on the board, I knew I was playing well.”
Ogilvy had dropped out of the top 100 in the world rankings after missing the cut at Frys.com Championship in late 2013. His best finish this year had been a tie for 11th at the Valero Texas Open. He was missing the cut almost as many times as he made the cut. Not acceptable for a guy like Ogilvy, who has won several WGC events in his career.
“It’s (winning again) pretty satisfying,” he said “Been some pretty rough packing up in the locker rooms (after) missing cuts and having bad finishes.
“People watch the TV and see all the fun and happiness of the PGA Tour, but it can be pretty desperately depressing as well, spending time away from home, beating your head against the wall and just getting frustrated. Depressing is a bit strong a word, but really frustrating. It doesn’t feel like a first win, but it’s a very satisfying win. Maybe one of the most important wins ever. Hopefully I can build on it.”
Hicks, who had 10 birdies and two bogeys on Sunday, briefly moved ahead of Ogilvy and into the lead with 41 points when he birdied the par-5 13 with an 11-foot putt.
However, Ogilvy banged a driver and then 7-iron to 27 feet. He then dropped in the putt for five points and a 45-41 lead.
“Looking back, that’s a pretty key moment,” Ogilvy said “I made eagle there on Friday, too, and that was pretty timely because I wasn’t having an amazing day on Friday. To throw five points in there towards the end of my round on Friday was pretty important.
“Any eagle in this format is probably the most valuable. Eagle is better than making two birdies and you do it all in one hole. So, yeah, that one probably is the most important one of the week, closely followed by the eagle on Friday probably.”
Ogilvy followed that up with a birdie on the par-4 No. 14 hole that was playing less than 300 yards. His 3-wood off the tee on the par-4 ended up in the primary rough behind the green. He chipped to 3 feet and dropped in the putt to take a 6-point lead.
“The ball goes so far here, especially in the afternoon,” Ogilvy said. “I think it was about 295 to the pin. Normally that would be a driver. That probably plays 260 here maybe. That’s kind of about 3-wood distance.
“So I think it took one or two bounces and went over the back of the green, which I think is kind of a good spot to miss it on that hole. The layup is really awkward there. For the back pins it’s all right, the wedge shot. But the wedge shot to the front pin is really hard because that green goes the wrong way. I hit a really good shot over the green and got up and down.”
Ogilvy admitted he is more excited about going back to Kapalua than playing in the PGA.
“Without taking any offense to the PGA, Kapalua is a much more exciting prospect than the PGA,” Ogilvy said “Not that the PGA isn’t an exciting prospect, but the last two times I played Kapalua I won. It’s also in Maui, which is not a rough place to start the year. I’ve missed it the past few years, so pretty excited to go back there.
“Obviously I’m happy I’m in the PGA. Haven’t missed a PGA for a really long time. I had already mentally kind of checked out it and have to check back into it, I guessed, tonight. I don’t like missing the big tournaments. I love playing in the big tournaments. To get back in with this win to next week is pretty nice.’’
Hicks is on a roll after taking third and second the last two weeks. He could make some serious noise in the next few weeks.
“You know, I think last week I was a little bit more nervous than this week, believe it or not,” said Hicks. “I think for me this year, we were in a good position going into this week. We didn’t have as much pressure as some of the guys out here that are kind of vying for the FedEx list and trying to figure out how to keep their cards and things like that.”
Pampling birdied the 18th to move into fifth place. It was his best finish since the 2012 Farmers Insurance Open in 2012 (T-8th).
“It was just solid sort of all the way through,” he said. Just keeping control of that was the key.”
Laird would love to have his second round back. He was a minus-4 that gave him no shot to win. He recorded six birdies and no bogeys which gave him a solo sixth.
“I played great,” Laird said. “With the exception of that one round, I played as good as everyone else here. Would’ve been right here with Geoff, but. It was a costly one, but overall I’m happy. But I knew I was playing great, and I played great again today. Just would’ve been nice to see that one go in on the last hole, but we’ll see if that makes a difference.”
For the second straight day, Barnes felt he left shots on the course.
On Saturday he went double-bogey and bogey on Nos. 14 and 15, and never recovered and finished with 12 for the day. On Sunday, he had six birdies through 15 holes, but bogeyed the par-5 18th to finish with 11.
“I had a chance to win the tournament,” said Barnes, who missed a 5-footer on his 72nd hole. “And now I won’t even finish in the top 10.”
NOTES: Of the five former champs in the field, lefty Steve Flesch did the best, finish 21st. J.J. Henry was 34th and John Rollins 66. Chris Riley and Matt Bettencourt missed the cut … There were 21 bogey-free rounds in the tournament, including just one on Sunday (Martin Laird) … Laird has three top-10s in Reno … The field averaged 71.135 over four days … The par-4 17th was the toughest hole of the week, playing to a 4.275 average, while the par-5 13th was the easiest at 4.564.